It was a busy time for fashion, activism and on-field tributes in the NFL this weekend, as the league held its second annual “My Cause, My Cleats” week, suspending its normally strict rules on what players can’t wear during games in support of charities that individual athletes can choose.
The result was a kaleidoscope of colors on players’ feet as they sported special edition shoes in support of everything from animal adoption to racial equality.
But former South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger went even further than that, taping his face mask in a tribute to NFL star Sean Taylor, who was killed 10 years ago during a home invasion. Swearinger plays the same safety position Taylor did for the Washington Redskins.
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“One Time For The Legend!!” Swearinger wrote in an Instragram post after the game. According to NFL Network, Swearinger said he watches Taylor’s highlights before every game.
Swearinger also honored Taylor with one of his cleats, a burgundy and gold shoe with Taylor’s name and number, 21, on it. On his other foot, he wore a purple cleat in support of research for fibromyalgia, a disease that afflicts his sisters.
Against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Swearinger had six tackles in a loss. He is on pace for a career high in stops.
San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram is also on pace for a career high, in sacks. Against the winless Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Ingram recorded four tackles, two for loss, but missed out on adding to his 8.5 sack total on the season.
However, it’s Ingram’s cleats that probably made the biggest statement Sunday, as he wore white shoes with the words “Justice for All” in red on them, as well as the names and ages of black men, women and children killed by law enforcement.
On the offensive side of the ball, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery capped off a big week in which he signed a $52 million extension with four receptions for 61 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. That snapped a four-game streak in which he had caught at least one touchdown pass, but he remains among the NFL top 25 in receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
How they fared
Jerell Adams, WR, New York Giants: 2 catches, a season-high, for 12 yards
Damiere Byrd, WR, Carolina Panthers: Reactivated from the IR this week, 1 catch on 2 targets for 12 yards
A.J. Cann, G, Jacksonville Jaguars: Started his 13th game this season
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans: 3 tackles, 1 solo, wore blue cleats with the logo of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Houston
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders: 1 catch on 5 targets for 9 yards, wore one cleat for breast cancer awareness, one for Down syndrome
Pharoh Cooper, WR, Los Angeles Rams: 1 catch for -3 yards, 1 rushing attempt for 6 yards, 2 kick returns for 34 yards, 4 punt returns for 60 yards with a long of 30, wore green cleats with the logo of Olive Crest, an organization dedicated to combating child abuse and broken homes
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks: 16 rushing attempts for 64 yards, 4 catches for 37 yards
Patrick DiMarco, FB, Buffalo Bills: Played but recorded no stats, wore orange and purple cleats to honor his grandfathers, who died from pancreatic cancer and leukemia
Bruce Ellington, WR, Houston Texans: 1 catch on 2 targets for 7 yards, left early with a hamstring injury
Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots: 3 tackles, 2 passes defended, wore black and red cleats for poverty
Melvin Ingram, LB, Los Angeles Chargers: 4 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 quarterback hit, wore white cleats with the words “Justice For All” and the names of black men, women and children killed by law enforcement
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: 4 catches on 6 targets for 61 yards. Signed a four-year, $52 million extension with the Eagles earlier this week
T.J. Johnson, C, Cincinnati Bengals: Yet to play
Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans: 4 tackles, all solo
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, Carolina Panthers: 2 tackles, 1 solo, wore green and blue cleats in support of the March of Dimes
Corey Robinson, OT, Detroit Lions: Made his second start of the season
Brandon Shell, OT, New York Jets: Made his third consecutive start and ninth of the season, wore purple and orange cleats for STOMP Out Bullying
Darian Stewart, S, Denver Broncos: 5 tackles, all solo, wore red and white cleats for his foundation, Stewart Standouts, which is dedicated to encouraging “the growth and development of the youth”
Ryan Succop, K, Tennessee Titans: 1 for 2 on field goals with a long of 43 yards, 3 for 3 on extra points, wore multicolored shoes in support of animal adoption
D.J. Swearinger, S, Washington Redskins: 6 tackles, 5 solo, 57 total stops on the season, on pace for a career high. Wore one purple cleat for Fight Fibromyalgia, a disease that afflicts his two sisters, and one burgundy and gold one for deceased NFL player Sean Taylor